In Conversation with Steve Broach, public law barrister
We wouldn't normally churn out another episode of In Conversation so quickly, as it's quite a big undertaking to produce. But with the month-long renewal of the Government's Notice, trashing children's legal rights under the Coronavirus Act, we thought you should know what's left in force.
The "Modifications" Notice was renewed late on Friday afternoon, almost as if they'd forgotten and just caught sight on Twitter of SEND legal people wondering what was happening. Oops! Almost forgot to stick it to those disabled kids before the weekend!
Then, on Saturday, the SEND Minister, Vicky Ford, put out a letter that she might as well not have bothered with. It mentioned nothing at all about the extension of the Notice, but just the updated Guidance issued earlier on Friday, thus completely missing the point.
Back to school?
The reason this interview is so important is that, as you know, ALL children classed as "vulnerable" including children with EHCPs, are expected to go back to school from today (1/5/20), subject to the completion or updating of a risk assessment for each child. But, with the Notice extension, it means they'll be going without the legal protection afforded by their education, health plans. Children will be relying on what's termed "reasonable endeavours" instead.
The concern is that with the changes each school must make for COVID safety, a risk assessment will result in a decision that school isn't suitable for your disabled child. But how will stretched teachers manage to supervise two classrooms (30 children split in two classrooms) as well as their online students, especially those needing differentiated learning. Your child may have a very talented teacher, but they're still only human.
Of course, many parents will have taken the decision not to send their child back for the remaining weeks to the summer holidays, but schools will still have to provide learning as they have been doing (hopefully)
What did we discuss with Steve?
We now await to hear whether Deanna, the parent of Amber, about whose legal challenge to the changes we featured on Friday, will push forward with a judicial review. The barrister instructed on this case is Steve Broach, SEND hero and public law expert.
We caught up with Steve late last week, before the events of Friday, for an episode of In Conversation. It covered education, health and social care issues as they currently stand and with
We had a wide-ranging discussion and it's not something you'll want to miss. It includes what does "reasonable endeavours" mean? How can you challenge decisions made? What do you have left in your legal toolbox to protect the rights of your child? Can you still appeal to the Tribunal? What about children on SEN Support? What about SEN Transport?
How can you listen?
As ever we've uploaded this to our podcast platforms, and in vision to YouTube, which you can watch below. PLEASE do subscribe to one or more platforms and add a review as this would be really helpful and appreciated.
SNJ In Conversation with Steve Broach
You can find the video on YouTube here (fingers crossed) or listen below on Spotify
Listen on Spotify
Help needed with subtitles
We'd like to make each of these fully subtitled. At the moment, we're relying on YouTube's automated subtitles which aren't bad, but always need tweaking. We physically don't have time to do these tweaks as these are long-form videos. If you would like to volunteer and you can commit to helping us make these adjustments on our channel, please get in touch. You'll need to have a bit of tech confidence as it involves doing it directly on YouTube (we can explain how to do it, but you do need to be comfortable with the technical aspect first)
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- Coronavirus: Disabled children’s education rights must be restored now, before any formal return to school
- It is a mistake to assume all vulnerable children are ‘at risk of harm’
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- Provision denied: Children with SEND have had their needs and education “pushed to one side, for the convenience of the majority.” - February 19, 2021
- More parents seeking children’s mental health support in pandemic, with growing pessimism over support delays - January 5, 2021
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